The beach at Island Beach State Park was a little more crowded than usual on Sunday morning, even for a holiday weekend.
Thatâ€™s because beachgoers saw a 29-foot three-year-old female humpback whale lying dead on the sand. This sighting follows the washing up of humpback whale skeletal remains on Long Beach Island shores last week.
Bob Schoelkopf, director of the Marine Mammal Stranding Station in Brigantine, told the Asbury Park Press that the vertebrae of the whale appeared to be crushed by a ship so it died quickly.
Hundreds of interested observers gathered to watch Schoelkopf and his crew analyze the whale, taking measurements, removing blubber levels, fat and muscle. Then they saw the severity of the vertebrae break and the cause of the whaleâ€™s death. The entire analysis took seven hours.